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Nokia Siemens shows interest in CDMA bail-out

OPerators of the Code Division Multiple Access, CDMA, may still achieve their aim of competing favourably with the Global system for Mobile communications, GSM services providers, otherwise known in Nigeria as the major operators.

This is as telecom infrastructure providers, Nokia Siemens at the weekend, while opening office in Nigeria, indicated interest in providing them with solutions that can leverage their activities to meet that tall order.

The fortunes of the Nigerian CDMA operators experienced a nosedive shortly after the GSM operators opened shop in August 2001 and since then, while the GSM operators keep increasing in numbers and financial records, their CDMA counterparts have been depleting in both numbers and bank balance.

 

Although things began to look bright in 2006 when their regional licences were upgraded to Unified Access Services Licences, the operators could not sustain the tempo and from a position of strength in terms of the number of operators, there are today, just about only two active CDMA operators, Starcomms and Visafone.
All hope not lost

However, Nokia Siemens says all hope is not lost. According to its Nigerian Country Director, Raphael Udogu, “we are looking at solutions which they can use and share, to cut cost and still remain competitive which has been lacking.

This is why they have not been growing at par with bigger operators because they didn’t have enough fund to invest in infrastructure that could have taken their growth to the level of the big operators. We are going to sit with them to design the strategy and solutions that can help them come from under. We are discussing that and that is one of the reasons why we are here”

Earlier in his presentation, Head of Africa Region, Nokia Siemens Networks, Mr Dimitri Diliani,  said that his company has a vision to make ‘Internet for every African’ a reality.

According to him, Nigeria is an important country in this vision and so as part of the company’s renewed focus on the African continent, Nokia Siemens Networks restructured and separated its Africa operations at the beginning of 2011.

The African market is growing at a strong pace and we felt the need to provide additional focus to support this growth. Our new office in Lagos will serve as an integral part of our strategy to strengthen our operations in the continent and deliver superior services to our customers,” He added.

Low connectivity index

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s connectivity index score card went all time low to 1.09 percent ,according to a recent study, known as Connectivity Scorecard, by  a Fellow of the London Business School, Prof. Leonard Waverman.

The study said that Nigeria retains the 23rd position among the resource and efficiency-driven economies on the Connectivity Scorecard 2011 index. This means that between 2009 and 2010, Nigeria maintained a stagnated infrastructure growth, retaining 23rd position even when mobile penetration grew from 49 percent in 2009 to 57 percent in 2010.

Reacting to the result of the study, Information and Communications Technology ICT, infrastructure providers, Nokia Siemens, at the weekend hinted that Nigeria needed active participation of its public sector to grow the country’s ICT infrastructure to the level that can sustain the economy outside oil.

The company through its country Director,  Raphael Udogu, in a ceremony to mark the opening of its Nigerian office at the Banana Island Ikoyi Lagos, said that one of the problems mitigating against the growth of infrastructure in Nigeria was the low participation of the country’s public sector.

He noted that while mobile penetration was growing in appreciable form, the country’s infrastructural development was still at low ebb because the public sector was sitting tight on almost all areas of ICT participation.

He advised that a consistent awareness campaign and training, was needed to get the Nigerian public sector to know the importance of ICT in every level of its activities. For him, this would ensure that the private sector gets the relevant support it needed to make the public private participation, PPP strategy solving problems in Nigeria.

Connectivity Scorecard is a global ICT index which ranks 50 countries, not only on their deployment of ICT infrastructure, but also to measure the extent to which governments, businesses and consumers make use of connectivity technologies to enhance social and economic prosperity.

In the study, Nigeria scores 1.09 and retains the 23rd position among the resource and efficiency-driven economies on the Connectivity Scorecard 2011 index.

Relatively better performance
With this score, Nigeria continues to rank among the bottom five countries along with India, Pakistan, Kenya and Bangladesh. However, the country posts a relatively better performance in the consumer segment, led by a high mobile phone penetration rate. Its performance on the business and public sector components is very poor, indicating significant room for improvement.

The Scorecard in 2011 highlights the continued need for investment in information and communications technology (ICT) to stimulate a return to economic growth.

Udogu however promised that his company was going to play its own part by designing solutions tailored at solving peculiar problems faced by telecommunications operators in Nigeria and called on the government to pursue the issue of power generation with all vigour, saying it could be the tonic that would wake the public sector up, eventually.

Nokia Siemens Networks is a leading global enabler of telecommunications services. The company provides a complete portfolio of mobile, fixed and converged network technology, as well as professional services including consultancy and systems integration, deployment, maintenance and managed services.






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